A Dismal Tale of 2 Countries

Relatives mourn a COVID-19 victim at the Caju cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. May 8, 2020. Image: Buda Mendes/Getty
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Relatives mourn a COVID-19 victim at the Caju cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. May 8, 2020. Image: Buda Mendes/Getty

The US and Brazil have the Americas’ highest number of COVID-19 deaths. They also have leaders who are sending mixed messages about the response.

Brazil has reported 11,000+ deaths and faces an accelerating epidemic. Cases went from 3,700 per day on April 23 to nearly 12.000 on May 6, said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in an Atlantic article. And the true number of cases is likely higher, The Guardian reports.

The pace makes one frontline physician suspect Brazil could see 100,000 deaths. 

Blaming President Jair Bolsonaro for sowing confusion and undermining physical distancing measures in cities and states, a Lancet editorial dubbed him “perhaps the biggest threat to Brazil's COVID-19 response.”

In response to journalists’ questions about soaring case numbers, Bolsonaro said, “So what? What do you want me to do?”

Meanwhile in the US, COVID-19 deaths are nearing 80,000. Last Wednesday, President Trump discounted testing, which public health experts consider essential.

“If we did very little testing, [America] wouldn't have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad,” NPR reports.

Another Worrisome Sign: Conservatives are beginning to cast doubt on official numbers and predictive models, POLITICO reports. They argue that the numbers of deaths are being inflated for political purposes.

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